Category: Partners In Crime Tours

Guest Author JC GATLIN showcase, interview, giveaway

Prey of Desire

by JC Gatlin

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours October 2014

Book Details:

Genre: New Adult Mystery-Suspense

Published by: Blurb, Inc.

Publication Date: February 2014

Number of Pages: 230

ISBN: 9780615961057

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

They said the disappearance of two high school students over 25 years ago was mystery that couldn’t be solved.

No one ever said it shouldn’t be.

Following the abrupt end of a relationship, college student Kimberly Bradford finds comfort in the friendship with her over-the-top neighbor, Mallory. And, Mallory encourages her to get back out there. She would of course if it weren’t for the thrilling little love notes and gifts she’s been receiving.

Kim thinks they’re from her ex-fiancee, not realizing he’s been murdered. Worse, whoever is sending her all the extra attention is not only in her inner-circle, but has a connection to that unsolved murder some 25 years ago. That connection puts her life in danger, and exposes secrets better left buried around her closest friends and family.

Read an excerpt:

“That was close.” Mallory laughed, pushing Kim out the diner doors and onto the sidewalk. They crossed the intersection against the light and headed back to Mallory’s parked Miata. Making it clear that she was not pleased, Kim walked several steps ahead. She crossed her arms, swinging her purse. Mallory caught up to her, telling her to slow down.

Kim picked up her pace. “I can’t believe you tried to set me up with that old psychologist again. You just don’t know when to quit, do you?”

“He’s a psychiatrist, and…” Mallory grabbed her arm to slow her down. “Stop being so melodramatic.”

“Melodramatic?” Kim whipped around to confront her friend face to face. “Not only did you ambush me, but this is the second time he’s stood me up – second time in a row!”

“He just got detained with another crazy patient, that’s all.” Mallory punctuated that with a light, throaty chuckle. “The whole town is freaked out over the Congressman’s murder so it’s understandable.”

“You’re changing the subject.” Kim turned and stepped off the sidewalk into the street. She headed toward the car parallel parked in front of a meter. Mallory followed her into the oncoming traffic.

“Would you just wait?” She grabbed Kim’s arm again. Mallory stopped her in the middle of the street. A car honked and swerved around them. Oblivious, Kim pointed a finger at her and leaned forward.

“You sandbagged me with another blind date. You know I’m involved.”

“Ross went M.I.A. on you, what, six weeks ago? He’s gone.” Another car blared its horn. Mallory waved it away. “I just wanted to get your mind off it. Besides, Dr. Whitman has lined up a very exciting date.”

“You just don’t give up, do you?”

“Listen to me, Kim. He’s really been putting a lot of pressure on me lately. He’s talked about you for ages and he’s been asking me to set you two up for a long time. Ever since…”

Breaks squeaked on a truck as it swerved to miss them. Kim ignored it. “Ever since what, Mallory? Since Ross dumped me?”

“No – since Ross disappeared.” Mallory paused. Her eyes softened and a faint smile crossed her lips. “Kim, he’s not coming back.”

Kim was about to protest. It was a knee-jerk reaction to tell Mallory how wrong she was. For a moment, Kim considered explaining about the mysterious poems and the invitation for dinner on Friday night. She wanted to tell Mallory about the phone calls. All those cryptic messages and notes – it had to be from Ross. It just had to be. They were meant for each other.

Instead Kim looked down at her feet and sighed. “I’m just not in the mood to be sweet and sociable. You know what I mean? I’m angry. And I want to hit something. I want to rip something apart and stomp on it and crush it and…”

Another car honked and the driver screamed obscenities as he whizzed past. The girls were unfazed standing in the center of the road.

“Exactly my point.” Mallory snapped her fingers, seemingly very pleased with herself. “That’s why this handsome, debonair psychiatrist suggested a double date at a mock war camp.”

“A what?”

“A mock war camp,” Mallory repeated. “Instead of miniature golf or going to a movie, we’d play weekend warrior.”

Kim hesitated, watching her a moment, then followed. “What kind of date is that?”

“The kind that’ll get you over Ross!” Mallory headed toward her Miata parked at the curb. Unlocking the car door, she paused and leaned against the hood. She turned back toward Kim.

“It’s the kind of date where you can be tank girl and rip men apart and blow them away and stomp on them… only with paint pellets.” Mallory’s eyes enlarged and she took a breath, as if waiting for Kim to protest. When she didn’t, Mallory continued. “He’s a head shrink, Kim. He knows about these kind of things.”

 

Author Bio:

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. In addition to regular fishing trips, he wrote a monthly column for New Tampa Style Magazine, then began penning several mystery/suspense stories. His first novel, The Designated Survivor, was released in July 2013, and Prey of Desire followed in February 2014. Both are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition.

Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC grew up in Grapevine — a small Texas town just outside of Dallas.

Catch Up With JC:

 

Q&A with JC Gatlin

  -Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Not consciously, but to some degree, all writers build from personal experiences. I’m sure if my psychiatrist read one of my books, she’d find a lot of me in it.

  -Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I create a very detailed outline before I even put down the first word on the first page. Since I writer murder mysteries, which are essentially puzzles, you could say I start with the end in mind. I generally have the elaborate murder in mind, and all the drama that goes with its motive, means and opportunity. Then, comes the amateur sleuth who shows up to solve that murder.

-Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?

It seems like a lot of writers like to have that quiet, private alcove, but I like loud and busy. I go to the food court at the mall, sit down with my laptop and write a few scenes or a chapter. Sometimes I go to a restaurant to write. I’m often more productive in that environment than in a quiet study.

  -Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?

I don’t write murder mysteries full time… yet. I have a 9 to 5’er writing manuals in the home building industry.

-Who are some of your favorite authors?

Dean Koontz is probably my favorite, but I’ve read about everything written by Mary Higgins Clark and grew up reading Sydney Sheldon. I just finished “Cell” by Robin Cook.

-What are you reading now?

I’m reading Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso. It won the 2012 Florida Book Award and is well deserving of that award. I want more people to discover this incredibly talented young adult author!

-Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?

Yes! Yes! Yes! And I can’t wait for it to come out. It’s about a woman named Tori who returns to her home town to attend her childhood friend’s funeral. Tori’s been out of touch with everyone for over five years and is bitter about her ex-fiancee ending their relationship. Before the final services though, she discovers that her friend was murdered by her ex-fiancee. However, no one believes her because they think she’s just angry at him.

Fun questions:

  -Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?

Oh, man. That’s a tough one. I had a fan write me to say that she saw Kimberly Bradford looking like an actress named Jessica Khoury. The character and her best friend Mallory are actually based loosely on two girls I knew in college.

  -Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?

Most of it is written by keyboard, but I do like to print out a chapter to read it, and will make notes in the margin.

-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Love fishing, and I’m great at eating. But then, who isn’t? I just want to get to a place where I have leisure time for an activity or a hobby.

-Favorite meal?

I love anything chicken — grilled, blackened, fried — it’s all good.

Tour Participants:


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Guest Author WAYNE ZURL showcase, guest post & giveaway

Pigeon River Blues

by Wayne Zurl

 

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural / Mystery

Published by: Iconic Publishing

Publication Date: May 31, 2014

Number of Pages: 258

ISBN: 1938844025 / 978-1938844027

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her alternative lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”

 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

An oddball named Mack Collinson sat in his mother’s office discussing the upcoming auction of farmland straddling the border of Prospect and neighboring Seymour, Tennessee.

Jeremy Goins, part-time real estate salesman at the Collinson agency, defrocked federal park ranger, and now full-time maintenance man in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, walked into the room and tossed a newspaper on Mack’s lap.
Collinson, a short, dark man in his late-forties, had close-cropped, almost black hair, a single bushy eyebrow spanning his forehead, and a thick beard that covered his face from just below his eyes and disappeared into the collar of his sport shirt.

“You seen this article in the Blount County Voice?” Goins asked.

Mack shrugged. His mother neither commented nor gestured.

Goins sighed and continued, seemingly unimpressed with his male colleague. “’Bout how Dolly’s havin’ a benefit show and that lezzy bitch—‘cuse me, Ma—C.J. Profitt’s comin’ back home fer a week a’forehand.”

People showing deference to her age referred to Collinson’s mother as Miss Elnora. Those who knew her more intimately, called her Ma.

“Lemme see that,” Elnora snarled, screwing up her wide face, one surrounded by layers of gray, arranged in a style the locals called big hair.

“Yes, ma’am.” Anxious to please his employer, Jeremy snatched the newspaper from Mack and handed it to Mrs. Collinson.
The Collinson Realty and Auction Company occupied an old and not very well maintained building on McTeer’s Station Pike just below the center of Prospect. Sixty-five-year-old Elnora Collinson had been a realtor for more than forty years, first with her late husband and now with her son. In either case, Ma represented the brains of the operation.

After allowing the woman a few moments to read the article, Jeremy Goins continued the conversation.

“I hated that bitch back in hi-skoo,” he said. “And I hate her even more now that I know what she is and what her kind means ta the rest o’ us.”

Goins was a stocky, rugged-looking man, approaching fifty, with a liberal mix of gray in his dark brown hair. The gray hair was the only liberal thing about Jeremy Goins.

“I s’pose she’s fixin’ to stay around here and mebbe bring some o’ her pur-verted women friends with her,” Mack said. “This world’s goin’ ta hell when ya got ta be subjectedsta the likes o’ her on the same streets good Christian folk walk on.”

“Amen ta that,” Jeremy said.

When Ma finished reading she snorted something unintelligible, rolled up the paper, and threw it at a wastepaper basket, missing by a foot.

“Boys, this is shameful.” She took a long moment to shake her head in disgust. “Downright shameful.”

Both men nodded in agreement.

“When that girl went ta Nashville an’ become a singer, I thought Prospect was rid o’ her and her kind once’t and fer all. Lord have mercy, but we’re doomed ta see her painted face on our streets ag’in.”

“Momma,” Mack said, “we ain’t gotta take this.”

He spent a moment shaking his head, too. Then he decided to speak for the rest of the population.

“Don’t nobody here want her back. Mebbe we should send’er a message if the elected leaders o’ this city won’t. We kin let her know.”

“You’re rot, son. Ain’t no reason why that foul-mouthed, lesbian should feel welcome here.” Ma Collinson, who resembled a grumpy female gnome, sat forward in her swivel chair and with some difficulty, pulled herself closer to the desk. “Jeremy, git me that li’l typewriter from the closet. I’ll write her a note sayin’ as much.”

Goins nodded and moved quickly.

“And Jeremy, afore yew git ta work at park headquarters, mail this in Gatlinburg so as ta not have a Prospect postmark on it.”

Goins stepped to a spot where he could read over her shoulder and said, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll do it.”

After inserting a sheet of white bond paper under the roller, Elnora Collinson began to type:

Colleen Profitt we know you. We know what you are. All the money you made don’t make no difference about what you have became. You are a shame to your family and the city of Prospect. Do not come back here. We do not want you. God does not want you.

SIGNED

The Coalition For American Family Values

That was the first of six messages sent to country and western star C.J. Profitt.

The last letter, typed almost two weeks later, said:

CJ Profitt you have not called off your visit to our city. We repeat. You and your lesbian friends are violating God’s Law. You must not come here. If you do you will regret it. The people of this city will not suffer because of you. Your ways are the ways of Sin. Your life is a life of SIN. If you come here YOU WILL suffer and then burn in Hell. Do not show your painted face here again. If you do you better make your peace with GOD. You will face HIM soon enough. Sooner than you think.

The Coalition for American Family Values

<><><>

On Friday morning, February 2nd, Mack Collinson slammed the front door to the real estate agency, shrugged off his brown canvas Carhartt jacket, and tossed it on an old swivel chair. He spent a moment blowing his nose in a week-old handkerchief and stormed into his mother’s office.

“Well she’s here,” he said, putting his hands on his hips. “She never done took your warnin’s serious-like.”
Ma Collinson looked at her son over the tops of reading glasses she recently purchased at the Wal-Mart Vision Center.
“This mornin’ Luretta and the kids was watchin’ that Knoxville mornin’ show,” he said. “And there she was—film o’ her at the airport ‘long with some others goin’ ta perform at Dolly’s benefit thing. She never listened ta ya, Ma. Now she’s here.”

At five after nine, a coo coo clock in Elnora’s office struck eight.

Mrs. Collinson pulled off her glasses and tossed them onto the desk. She wrinkled her brow and puckered her mouth in disgust. Elnora did not look happy.

“She’ll be talkin’ ‘bout her ideas and her ways like she always does,” Mack said. “It’s un-natural is what it is. Against God’s way. Why does God let people like her live, Ma? Makes me jest so gat-dag mad. Makes me think we ought ta kill her. Kill her our own selves.”

 

Author Bio:

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Ten (10) of these novelettes are now available in print under the titles of A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries and REENACTING A MURDER and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, chosen as 1st Runner-Up from all Commercial Fiction at the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His other novels are: A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT and HEROES & LOVERS. A fourth novel, PIGEON RIVER BLUES, was published in 2014.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Catch Up With the Author:

GUEST POST

 Are the Sam Jenkins books imitating life or the other way around?

Good cops are born actors. All you have to do is watch a pair of world-class interrogators go through their routine and you’d become a believer. And all cops have stories to tell. In many cases, their reality is that which much fiction is based. I’m surprised more cops don’t write books when they retire.

What a reader likes is very subjective. But I’ve heard that some people like my stories. That may be true, because I sell a few books. Here’s where I confess—I have more of a memory than imagination. Most of my stories are based on actual incidents I investigated, cases I supervised, or things I just knew a lot about. Often, I composite incidents into a single storyline and embellish and fictionalize it to make the finished product more readable. Not all police work is a thrill a minute. Recently, I’ve combined things I’ve seen since retiring and incorporate them as components of a story that originated in New York, but as ever, gets transplanted to Tennessee.

PIGEON RIVER BLUES is one of these eclectic blends of numerous vignettes surrounding one story-worthy plot.

The Collinsons and their henchman, Jeremy Goins, that trio of right-wing morons who threaten country singer, C.J. Proffit, are based or real characters I’ve met.

Since I began writing, I’ve been looking for the right place to introduce retired Detective John Gallagher, the goofy-acting but extremely competent former colleague of Sam Jenkins, who suffers from a severe case of malapropism. “John,” who is now a regular cast member at Prospect PD, is also based on a real person with whom I worked for many years.

Giving Sam and company an unwanted job of providing personal security for the famous singer allowed me to recall a few assignments I had in the Army and the reoccurring VIP security details we were bamboozled into taking on during my time in one command of the police department where I worked.

Originally, I had included an addendum or author’s disclaimer at the end of the novel—sort of a “don’t try this at home” statement about some of the things Sam pulled off during this adventure. But the publisher didn’t want it, and he was probably correct because they were all things that in reality, whether good police practice or not, are done for the sake of expedience.

You’ll read a statement at the beginning of all my books sounding something like this:  ‘This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead or to actual incidents is a coincidence and a figment of the author’s immagination.’ Yeah? Nuts. I was there. I knew these people. But I take literary license to change things as I see fit. I make incidents more exciting, people more beautiful or uglier, and to paraphrase Jack Webb’s weekly statement on the old TV show DRAGNET, I change the names to protect the guilty . . . and keep me out of civil court.

Cheryl,

Thanks for inviting me to your blog to meet your fans and followers.  To all those who take the time to read my guest posting, I wish you the best and  hope you enjoy the rest of the autumn and have happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year.

Givwaway:

WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN BY RAFFLECOPTER AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL AND WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO RESPOND OR ANOTHER NAME WILL BE CHOSEN

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YOUR JAVA SCRIPT MAY NEED TO BE UPDATED IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY USING THE RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM

 

Tour Participants:


Interview | Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl

Pigeon River Blues

by Wayne Zurl

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural / Mystery

Published by: Iconic Publishing

Publication Date: May 31, 2014

Number of Pages: 258

ISBN: 1938844025 / 978-1938844027

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her alternative lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

An oddball named Mack Collinson sat in his mother’s office discussing the upcoming auction of farmland straddling the border of Prospect and neighboring Seymour, Tennessee.

Jeremy Goins, part-time real estate salesman at the Collinson agency, defrocked federal park ranger, and now full-time maintenance man in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, walked into the room and tossed a newspaper on Mack’s lap.
Collinson, a short, dark man in his late-forties, had close-cropped, almost black hair, a single bushy eyebrow spanning his forehead, and a thick beard that covered his face from just below his eyes and disappeared into the collar of his sport shirt.

“You seen this article in the Blount County Voice?” Goins asked.

Mack shrugged. His mother neither commented nor gestured.

Goins sighed and continued, seemingly unimpressed with his male colleague. “’Bout how Dolly’s havin’ a benefit show and that lezzy bitch—‘cuse me, Ma—C.J. Profitt’s comin’ back home fer a week a’forehand.”

People showing deference to her age referred to Collinson’s mother as Miss Elnora. Those who knew her more intimately, called her Ma.

“Lemme see that,” Elnora snarled, screwing up her wide face, one surrounded by layers of gray, arranged in a style the locals called big hair.

“Yes, ma’am.” Anxious to please his employer, Jeremy snatched the newspaper from Mack and handed it to Mrs. Collinson.
The Collinson Realty and Auction Company occupied an old and not very well maintained building on McTeer’s Station Pike just below the center of Prospect. Sixty-five-year-old Elnora Collinson had been a realtor for more than forty years, first with her late husband and now with her son. In either case, Ma represented the brains of the operation.

After allowing the woman a few moments to read the article, Jeremy Goins continued the conversation.

“I hated that bitch back in hi-skoo,” he said. “And I hate her even more now that I know what she is and what her kind means ta the rest o’ us.”

Goins was a stocky, rugged-looking man, approaching fifty, with a liberal mix of gray in his dark brown hair. The gray hair was the only liberal thing about Jeremy Goins.

“I s’pose she’s fixin’ to stay around here and mebbe bring some o’ her pur-verted women friends with her,” Mack said. “This world’s goin’ ta hell when ya got ta be subjectedsta the likes o’ her on the same streets good Christian folk walk on.”

“Amen ta that,” Jeremy said.

When Ma finished reading she snorted something unintelligible, rolled up the paper, and threw it at a wastepaper basket, missing by a foot.

“Boys, this is shameful.” She took a long moment to shake her head in disgust. “Downright shameful.”

Both men nodded in agreement.

“When that girl went ta Nashville an’ become a singer, I thought Prospect was rid o’ her and her kind once’t and fer all. Lord have mercy, but we’re doomed ta see her painted face on our streets ag’in.”

“Momma,” Mack said, “we ain’t gotta take this.”

He spent a moment shaking his head, too. Then he decided to speak for the rest of the population.

“Don’t nobody here want her back. Mebbe we should send’er a message if the elected leaders o’ this city won’t. We kin let her know.”

“You’re rot, son. Ain’t no reason why that foul-mouthed, lesbian should feel welcome here.” Ma Collinson, who resembled a grumpy female gnome, sat forward in her swivel chair and with some difficulty, pulled herself closer to the desk. “Jeremy, git me that li’l typewriter from the closet. I’ll write her a note sayin’ as much.”

Goins nodded and moved quickly.

“And Jeremy, afore yew git ta work at park headquarters, mail this in Gatlinburg so as ta not have a Prospect postmark on it.”

Goins stepped to a spot where he could read over her shoulder and said, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll do it.”

After inserting a sheet of white bond paper under the roller, Elnora Collinson began to type:

Colleen Profitt we know you. We know what you are. All the money you made don’t make no difference about what you have became. You are a shame to your family and the city of Prospect. Do not come back here. We do not want you. God does not want you.

SIGNED

The Coalition For American Family Values

That was the first of six messages sent to country and western star C.J. Profitt.

The last letter, typed almost two weeks later, said:

CJ Profitt you have not called off your visit to our city. We repeat. You and your lesbian friends are violating God’s Law. You must not come here. If you do you will regret it. The people of this city will not suffer because of you. Your ways are the ways of Sin. Your life is a life of SIN. If you come here YOU WILL suffer and then burn in Hell. Do not show your painted face here again. If you do you better make your peace with GOD. You will face HIM soon enough. Sooner than you think.

The Coalition for American Family Values

<><><>

On Friday morning, February 2nd, Mack Collinson slammed the front door to the real estate agency, shrugged off his brown canvas Carhartt jacket, and tossed it on an old swivel chair. He spent a moment blowing his nose in a week-old handkerchief and stormed into his mother’s office.

“Well she’s here,” he said, putting his hands on his hips. “She never done took your warnin’s serious-like.”
Ma Collinson looked at her son over the tops of reading glasses she recently purchased at the Wal-Mart Vision Center.
“This mornin’ Luretta and the kids was watchin’ that Knoxville mornin’ show,” he said. “And there she was—film o’ her at the airport ‘long with some others goin’ ta perform at Dolly’s benefit thing. She never listened ta ya, Ma. Now she’s here.”

At five after nine, a coo coo clock in Elnora’s office struck eight.

Mrs. Collinson pulled off her glasses and tossed them onto the desk. She wrinkled her brow and puckered her mouth in disgust. Elnora did not look happy.

“She’ll be talkin’ ‘bout her ideas and her ways like she always does,” Mack said. “It’s un-natural is what it is. Against God’s way. Why does God let people like her live, Ma? Makes me jest so gat-dag mad. Makes me think we ought ta kill her. Kill her our own selves.”

Are the Sam Jenkins books imitating life or the other way around?

Guest Post by Wayne Zurl
Good cops are born actors. All you have to do is watch a pair of world-class interrogators go through
their routine and you’d become a believer. And all cops have stories to tell. In many cases, their reality is that which much fiction is based. I’m surprised more cops don’t write books when they retire.
What a reader likes is very subjective. But I’ve heard that some people like my stories. That may be true, because I sell a few books. Here’s where I confess—I have more of a memory than imagination. Most of my stories are based on actual incidents I investigated, cases I supervised, or things I just knew a lot about. Often, I composite incidents into a single storyline and embellish and fictionalize it to make the finished product more readable. Not all police work is a thrill a minute. Recently, I’ve combined things I’ve seen since retiring and incorporate them as components of a story that originated in New York, but as ever, gets transplanted to Tennessee.

PIGEON RIVER BLUES is one of these eclectic blends of numerous vignettes surrounding one story-
worthy plot.

The Collinsons and their henchman, Jeremy Goins, that trio of right-wing morons who threaten country singer, C.J. Proffit, are based or real characters I’ve met.

Since I began writing, I’ve been looking for the right place to introduce retired Detective John Gallagher, the goofy-acting but extremely competent former colleague of Sam Jenkins, who suffers from a severe case of malapropism. “John,” who is now a regular cast member at Prospect PD, is also based on a real person with whom I worked for many years.

Giving Sam and company an unwanted job of providing personal security for the famous singer allowed me to recall a few assignments I had in the Army and the reoccurring VIP security details we were bamboozled into taking on during my time in one command of the police department where I worked.

Originally, I had included an addendum or author’s disclaimer at the end of the novel—sort of a “don’t try this at home” statement about some of the things Sam pulled off during this adventure. But the publisher didn’t want it, and he was probably correct because they were all things that in reality, whether good police practice or not, are done for the sake of expedience.

You’ll read a statement at the beginning of all my books sounding something like this: ‘This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead or to actual incidents is a coincidence and a
figment of the author’s imagination.’ Yeah? Nuts. I was there. I knew these people. But I take iterary license to change things as I see fit. I make incidents more exciting, people more beautiful or uglier, and to paraphrase Jack Webb’s weekly statement on the old TV show DRAGNET, I change the names to protect the guilty . . . and keep me out of civil court.

Cheryl,
Thanks for inviting me to your blog to meet your fans and followers. To all those who take the time to read my guest posting, I wish you the best and hope you enjoy the rest of the autumn and have happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year.

Author Bio:

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Ten (10) of these novelettes are now available in print under the titles of A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries and REENACTING A MURDER and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, chosen as 1st Runner-Up from all Commercial Fiction at the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His other novels are: A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT and HEROES & LOVERS. A fourth novel, PIGEON RIVER BLUES, was published in 2014.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Catch Up With the Author:

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It’s a John Lansing Giveaway!!

Blond Cargo

by John Lansing

Visiting with the Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tour Company

Oct 8 – November 30, 2014

Blond Cargo by John Lansing | Coming Soon

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Jack Bertolino, 2nd
Published by: Karen Hunter
Publication Date: 10/20/2014
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781476795515

Purchase Links:
* Blond Cargo does include some graphic violence.

Synopsis:

“A pulse-pounding thriller with a charming protagonist” (Kirkus Reviews), this gripping ebook continues the story that began in The Devil’s Necktie.

Jack Bertolino’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In Blond Cargo the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave.

A sizzling whodunit for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, Blond Cargo taps into the real-life crime world to deliver a thrilling, action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive, unprecedented finale.

Read an excerpt:

4

Jack carried a Subway turkey sandwich, a tall unsweetened iced coffee, a bottle of water, and a smile as he keyed the security gate that led to the dock in Marina del Rey where his boat was moored. The marina was always quiet during the week. Just the way he liked it.

He stopped to admire his twenty-eight feet of heaven before stepping onto his boat’s transom and then . . .

“Yo, Mr. B.”

Jack never forgot a voice, which explained his reluctance to turn around.

“Yo, yo, Mr. B.”

Miserably persistent, Jack thought. He turned to face Peter Maniacci, who was dressed head-to-toe in black. With his outstretched arms draped over the chain-link fence, Peter looked like an Italian scarecrow. The black circles under his eyes belied his youth. The sharp points of his sideburns, his boots, and the .38 hanging lazily from a shoulder holster added menace to his goofy grin.

So close, Jack thought. His only worry that day had been whether to eat his sandwich dockside or out on the Pacific with a view of the Santa Monica Pier.

“How you doing, Peter?”

“How you doin’?”

Jack let out a labored sigh. “We could do this all day. What’s up?”

“That’s funny, Mr. B. How’s the boy? How’s his pitching arm?”

Jack’s face tightened. He wasn’t happy that Peter knew

any of his son’s particulars. When he didn’t answer, Peter continued.

“Hey, nice boat. I used to fish for fluke off the north shore. Long Island. I think I must be in the wrong business.”

“Count on it,” Jack said. “What can I do for you?”

“My boss was wondering if you could spare a few minutes of your time.”

As if on cue, a black Town Car materialized behind Peter and came to a smooth, silent stop. The car rose visibly when Peter’s boss, a thick, broad-shouldered man, stepped out of the rear seat.

Vincent Cardona. Expensive suit, the body of a defensive linebacker—fleshy but muscled. Dark, penetrating eyes. Cardona looked in both directions before leveling his feral gaze on Jack. An attempt at a smile fell short of the mark. A thick manila envelope was tucked under one beefy arm.

Jack had been aware there would be some form of payback due for information Cardona had provided on Arturo Delgado, the man responsible for the attempted murder of his son. He just didn’t think it would come due this quickly. He opened the locked gate and let the big man follow him down the dock toward his used Cutwater cabin cruiser.

As Peter stood sentry in front of the Lincoln Town Car, Jack allowed the devil entry to his little piece of paradise.

“How’s your boy? How’s the pitching arm?” Vincent asked bluntly. Just a reminder of why he was there.

“On the mend.” Jack gestured to one of two canvas deck chairs in the open cockpit of the boat. Both men sat in silence as Jack waited for Cardona to explain the reason for his visit.

Jack wasn’t comfortable with Cardona’s talking about Chris, but the big man had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John’s Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona’s enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that might have saved his son’s life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack. The debt weighed heavily.

“It rips your heart out when your children have problems and you can’t do nothing to help,” Cardona said with the raspy wheeze of a man who had abused cigars, drugs, booze, and fatty sausage for most of his life.

“What can I do for you?” Jack asked, not wanting to prolong the impromptu meeting.

Cardona, unfazed by Jack’s brusqueness, answered by pulling out a picture and handing it to Jack.

“Angelica Marie Cardona. She’s my girl. My only. My angel. Her mother died giving birth. I didn’t have the heart to re-up. I raised her by myself.”

Mobster with a heart of gold. Right, Jack thought. But Cardona’s wife must have been a stunner because Angelica, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes, didn’t get her good looks from her father. Cardona’s gift was her self-assured attitude, which all but leaped off the photograph.

“Beautiful.”

Jack Bertolino, master of the understatement, he thought.

“And doesn’t she know it. Too much so for her own good. You make mistakes, my line of business. Whatever.”

“What can I do for you, Vincent?” Jack said, dialing back the attitude.

Cardona tracked a seagull soaring overhead with his heavy-lidded eyes and rubbed the stubble on his jaw.

Jack would have paid good money to change places with the gull.

“I shoulda never moved out here. L.A. I’m a black-socks- on-the-beach kinda guy. East Coast all the way. Never fit in. But I’m a good earner and the powers that be decided they were happy with the arrangement. Everyone was happy except Angelica and me.

“She turned thirteen, didn’t wanna have nothing to do with her old man. Turned iceberg cold. I tried everything— private schools, horses, ballet, therapy, live-in help; nothin’ worked. She closed up tighter than a drum. I finally threatened to send her to the nuns.”

“How did that work out?”

“I’m fuckin’ sitting here, aren’t I? On this fuckin’ dinghy . . . no offense meant,” he said, trying to cover, but the flash of anger told the real story. “I hear you’re an independent contractor now.”

It was Tommy Aronsohn, his old friend and ex–district attorney, who had set him up with his PI’s license and first client, Lawrence Weller and NCI Corp. But Jack Bertolino and Associates, Private Investigation, still didn’t come trippingly off his tongue.

And thinking of the disaster up north, he said, “We’ll see how that goes.”

“This is the point. I haven’t seen my daughter in close to a month. Haven’t heard word one since around the time your son was laid up in Saint John’s,” he said. Reminder number two. “It’s killing me,” he continued. “I’m getting a fuckin’ ulcer. Then this.”

Cardona pulled out the L.A. Times with the front-page spread reporting on the woman who had died when her boat crashed on the rocks at Paradise Cove. As it turned out, a second woman down in Orange County had washed up on the beach a few weeks earlier at the Terranea resort, scaring the joy out of newlyweds taking photos at sunset. Talk about twisted memories, Jack thought. As if marriage wasn’t tough enough. He’d already read both articles with his morning coffee and hadn’t bought into the pattern the reporter inferred.

“And the connection?”

“I got a bad feeling is all. She’s never disappeared like this before—not for this long anyway,” he said, amending his statement. “And then . . .” Cardona said, waving the newspaper like it was on fire. “It says here they were both blonds. Both about Angelica’s age. They could be fuckin’ cousins. Could be nothing.”

“Did you file a missing-persons report?”

Cardona gave him a hard side eye. “Jack, don’t fuck with me. We take care of our own.”

Jack thought before he spoke. “I’m not one of yours.”

“Semantics.”

“What about your crew?”

Cardona flopped open his meaty hands. “I get angina, I don’t call my cousin Frankie, who has a certain skill set but stinks when it comes to open-heart surgery. Look, I get it. You were on the other team. But this is straight-up business. One man to another. One father to another. I need you to find my girl. You got my number. Use it, Jack. Money’s no object. Find my baby.”

Strike three.

Jack didn’t answer. He stared out at the navy-blue water of the marina, past row upon row of beautiful yachts, symbols of dreams fulfilled, and knew they were empty notions compared to family.

Cardona hadn’t actually spoken the words you owe me, but they filled the subtext of everything he’d said. He was not subtle. The big man had reached out when Jack was in need, and Jack had accepted the offer. Now Vincent Cardona wanted his pound of flesh.

“This is everything I know. Last address, phone numbers, phone bills, e-mail accounts, bank, credit cards, friends and whatnot. The whole shot,” Cardona said, holding the manila envelope out in Jack’s direction.

“I have other commitments,” Jack stated.

“You look real fuckin’ busy, Jack, if you don’t mind my sayin’.” His eyes crinkled into a sarcastic grin. Vincent Cardona does charm.

Jack accepted the overstuffed envelope with a sigh.

“If she don’t want to come back, fine. No funny business, no strong-arm bullshit from my end. You got my word. I just need to know that my blood is alive. I’m fuckin’ worried and I don’t do worry too good. Sleep on it, Jack. But do the right thing.”

Cardona’s eyes locked on to Jack’s. Jack remained silent. He’d take a look. No promises, not yet.

Vincent’s knees cracked and the canvas chair squeaked like it was in pain as he stood up. He covered a belch behind his fist and rubbed his gut as he moved stiffly past Jack. The boat rocked when Cardona stepped off and walked heavily away, his Italian leather shoes echoing on the wooden dock.

The weight of the world. Jack could relate.

Peter Maniacci opened the gate for his boss and then the door to the Lincoln Town Car, which plunged to curb level as the big man slid in. Peter ran around to the other side of the car and tossed Jack a wave like the queen mum. He jumped into the Lincoln, which lurched forward before Peter could slam the door shut.

Jack walked into the boat’s deckhouse, grabbed a bottle of water, and downed two more Excedrin. He stretched his back, which was going into a spasm from yesterday’s violence, and chased the pills with a Vicodin to stay one step ahead of the pain that he knew was headed his way.

Jack had already decided to take the case.

Author Bio:

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. “The Devil’s Necktie” was his first novel. “Blond Cargo” is the next book in the Jack Bertolino series. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

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Open from 10/7/2014 – 12/1/2014
 
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Scott L. Miller Guest Author interview & giveaway

WELCOME Scott L. Miller

Scott L. Miller

A licensed clinical social worker, Scott L. Miller earned his Master’s in Social Work from St. Louis University and has worked with adults, children and the elderly in state and private hospitals in St. Louis city and county. Long fascinated by the workings of the human brain, he quit writing exceptionally bad poetry and studied fiction writing under the late John Gardner and later at Washington University. His first Mitch Adams novel, The Interrogation Chair, was self-published in May 2011, has been rewritten and is due for re-release by Blank Slate Press in October 2014 under the title Interrogation. Counterfeit is the second in this series, but is a stand-alone work. Counterfeit recently took third place in the Walter Williams major work award contest at the 99th Missouri Writer’s Guild workshop for Missouri’s published authors. Miller is currently working on his third Mitch Adams novel, working title The Virtual Suicide Machine, which is slated for release in 2015 by Blank Slate Press.

Connect with Scott at these sites:

WEBSITE     

Q&A with Scott L. Miller

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from personal experience and currents events. My writing deals with people and what motivates them to do good and terrible things. None of my recurring characters are based on one person from real life. Each book is set in present time and I always add very current topics of the year that are often hot button or polarizing ones.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I used to never use an outline, even in school for papers or projects. For my first novel I didn’t use one. I often enjoyed the neat twists and turns that happen without an outline, but it took me too many rewrites and too much time to nail the ending. There’s a lot to be said for writing the ending first and working backwards (there’s a book on writing that teaches it) but I’ve found it’s best for me to have at least a basic outline of beginning, middle and end, which is how I started writing Counterfeit. That way, as I write I still have the ability to have those cool, spontaneous twists as each section evolves.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
About writing routine, I almost always write in the evening when it’s quiet at home, after I decompress from work and spend time with my wife and our dogs. I write in my study, with no set length of words to produce each day. Sometimes it flows, other times it’s a trickle.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I’m a part-time, wannabe be full-time writer. Right now, I think I can write a novel a year while I work full-time as a licensed clinical social worker, but doing so means I don’t sleep very much. Most of my social work career was spent in psychiatry (I’ve worked with pretty much every type of adult and child population there is) but now I’m in medical social work.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Forced to choose just two, my two favorite authors are Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane. I would have loved to have met Mr. Parker but was lucky to meet Dennis and hear him speak. Gimme a good book with psychological suspense and twists and turns or a smart, quick-thinking protagonist with an attitude and I’m in heaven. The book I enjoyed the most over the last year was Gone Girl. John Irving is hard to beat for dialogue and character development. I could go on and on here.

What are you reading now?
Am trying to read authors who are new to me right now to broaden my horizons. Just started reading a signed copy of Blood is the Sky by Steve Hamilton who I met at a writing seminar last year and I like it so far.

Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on the latter stages of my third Mitchell Adams novel, working title The Virtual Suicide Machine. Mitch bails out his best friend Tony Martin, who also appears in the first two novels. Therapists use Virtual Reality to treat certain psychiatric illnesses, but Tony takes it a step farther, the machine is stolen, and all hell breaks loose. It’s by far my most over-the-top writing, but man will possess the technology for what happens in the next decade or two. A sexy femme fatale is this novel’s villainess, perfumes, and the Middle East conflict comes into play. Due in 2015.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
Funny you ask about Counterfeit as a movie…I had interest for movie rights from someone who works at New Line Cinema and an employee of director Sam Raimi, but talks fizzled. Also, there’s a little meta-fiction toward the end of Counterfeit in which Mitch thinks about actors who might play him if the story was made into a movie. Mitch mentions Clive Owen and Ryan Gosling, but I much prefer Clive Owen as Mitch. For Detective Baker I may go with lesser known Terry Crews (since Michael Clark Duncan has passed away) and for the villain John Maynard I think Aaron Eckhart would be a good choice.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
About manuscript notes, I’m now conditioned to write on the keyboard, but if an idea strikes I’ll scribble it down whenever and wherever it occurs. I struggle to write a scene on paper anymore for some bizarre reason.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
For fun, of course I like to read, but also hike in Castlewood Park with my wife and our beagles, go to the horse track or a casino, and catch up with old friends while playing poker.

Favorite meal?
My wife cooks as well as a gourmet chef and her tomato and basil pie is out of this world good.

ABOUT Counterfeit

What if a man with the talent and patience to create perfect, undetectable copies of US hundred bills carries out his plan? Has a crime even been committed? What if he never spend a dime of the money on himself?

The last person social worker Mitch Adams wants to hear from is St. Louis Homicide Detective JoJo Baker, a man with whom Mitch shares a tangled past. Baker wants Mitch to see Lonnie Washington, a disabled African-American arrested for counterfeiting and armed robbery, believed to be suicidal while he sits in jail awaiting trial. The evidence points to an open and shut case, but Baker insists it’s not so black and white. Reluctantly, Mitch agrees and discovers there is more to the story–more than enough to get them both killed. At first Lonnie won’t cooperate, but as he begins to open up, Mitch comes to believe that the true criminal may not be the man behind bars, but the prosecutor who put him there–a man with far-reaching political ambitions, the approval of the public, and his very own Secret Service detail. With millions in perfect fake $100 bills up for grabs, Mitch’s life hinges on the word of a counterfeiter, the greed of a prosecutor, and his refusal to go down without a fight.

BOOK DETAILS:


Genre: Suspense, Crime Fiction

Published by: Blank Slate Press

Publication Date: Oct 2013

Number of Pages: 248

ISBN: 978-0985007119

PURCHASE LINKS:

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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

Interview | Flight of the Tarantula Hawk by Michael Allan Scott (9/1-9/30)

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk

by Michael Allan Scott

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours in September 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller with a Paranormal Twist
Published by: Telemachus Press
Publication Date: 02/10/2014
Number of Pages: ~350
ISBN: 978-1-940745-00-8 / 978-1-940745-01-5
Series:2nd Lance Underphal Mystery, Can Be Read As a Stand Alone Novel

Purchase Links:

Warning: This book is not for everyone! It includes Excessive strong language, Graphic violence, & Explicit sexual scenes.

Synopsis:

Realtor Carla Simon has her first showing in nearly eighteen months. Recovering from a nervous breakdown, she arrives at the bank-owned foreclosure well ahead of her prospect. When her buyer pins her against the wall, it turns out to be the last house she’ll ever show.

Working on rebuilding his life, Lance Underphal attempts to bury his psychic curse alongside his troubled past. But when cryptic nightmares begin to plague him, he comes to know his struggles with the supernatural are far from over.

Lacking evidence, Homicide Detective Frank Salmon drags the reluctant psychic into the investigation. Underphal clues him in—this psycho is just getting started. Salmon assembles his crew and digs in.

Jack Jacobs, a PI and a shipmate of Salmon’s, fields a call from his girlfriend’s frantic daughter. She recruits him to locate her missing husband. Finding the husband’s Accord parked outside a long-vacant house, Jack senses he’s out of his league and calls Salmon.

Salmon’s manhunt ratchets up as Underphal’s predictions come to pass. Salmon, Jacobs and Underphal soon join forces, driven to stop the killings—a monumental task. And it’s not long before they disagree, each tracking their own suspect. All are led astray. A wild ride full of twists and turns, from a Goth-fest gone wrong to a shiny new morgue, they grapple with demons real and imagined.

As Lance’s dead wife Sonja whispers words of warning, he comes face to face with the murderer fresh from a kill. It’s only then he discovers it’s the murderer who’s stalking him. Lance wrestles with grim choices: Give up the chase and abandon his friends, or immerse himself in the killer’s dark past and risk annihilation. Lance’s only shot at redemption—face the horror and reveal its source.

Read an excerpt:

The Showing

 

Midday, and a crisp scent of fall fills the balmy air of late October. Sun-baked terrain has cooled, well below oven operating temperatures for several days in a row—the first time in nearly six months. Phoenix’s last Indian summer is finally laid to rest. Snowbirds and other migratory fowl flock to town, clogging the freeways and surface streets, swelling the resort hotels, RV parks, and the wallets of local merchants. A veritable desert paradise . . . almost, except for that fleshy, white underbelly that never sees the sun.

Crouched in the upscale suburb of Paradise Valley, a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath contemporary ranch style sits vacant—its foyer littered with MLS flyers and Realtors’ business cards while dust bunnies breed in its corners. At the street, the “For Sale” sign declares it’s “Bank Owned”—a sign of hard times, blighting nearly fifty thousand homes in the Phoenix area alone.

Carla Simon fumbles with the lockbox’s key to open the empty house. Her hollow cheeks match the hunted look in her soft brown eyes. Nervously waiting in the foyer for her two o’clock showing, she smooths the front of her skirt with sweaty palms. It’s been a long time since she’s shown property—too long.

Carla waves vigorously, her greeting overly effusive as her prospect trudges up the walk. “Any trouble finding it?” she asks.

Her prospect seems distracted, answering, “No . . . no problem.”

Carla starts in, leading the way. “You’ll notice the hardwood flooring throughout the main living areas.”

They cross through the foyer.

As they enter the living room, her prospect suddenly grabs Carla from behind and pushes her face-first into the wall.

“OhMyGod! What are you doing!?!” Stunned, Carla struggles to make sense of it. This can’t be happening!

Her prospect spins Carla around, pinning her to the wall with a forearm. She stares at her attacker’s placid features in disbelief, frozen with terror. Her attacker’s wide eyes bore through her like red-hot lasers. Confusion scrambles her thoughts as she watches a hand rise over her head. Too late, Carla sees the gleam of a large hypodermic needle as it thrusts deep into her neck, penetrating the carotid artery. Carla’s eyes roll with panic as the stab of the big-bore needle pierces her throat, burning fluid swelling her neck.

Racing to the brain like a predator possessed, the poison’s fiery tendrils sizzle neurons, frying and then extinguishing cranial, optic and facial nerves. Burning numbness spreads, robbing Carla of all muscular control. Her eyelids droop as facial muscles go slack. Vision doubling, then blurring, then dark, the last image burned into the back of her fading retinas is her attacker’s retreat. Carla’s shrieks echo in empty rooms, soon to be stillborn in her useless larynx as paralysis sets in.

How is it possible? The ultimate betrayal. Her life had just started to turn around after all the hard work and struggle to regain her family, her career, her sanity. She needs to ask why, but deadened lips refuse to move.
Her dry mouth hangs open uselessly as her last breaths flutter from paralyzed lungs. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be happy. But why now? And why like this? Bladder and bowels let loose as her arms and legs go limp. She slides down the wall to slump into a spreading puddle of her own urine. Slowly tilting over, her torso topples to the floor. Her head, bouncing off the solid wood floor like a ripe melon.

No, No, NO!!!

Fully conscious while trapped in a cooling carcass, Carla screams hysterically to no avail; only silence and darkness ensue.

Pale moonlight floods vacant rooms, streaming through bare windows. The consciousness that was Carla Simon watches cold blue-white light creep across the hardwood floor to climb bare walls, exposing a swollen flyblown corpse. She’s lost all track of time. How many nights has it been? She tries to remember . . . where she is, how she got there. Hollow spots, holes, nothing there when she’s sure there must be. If only she could remember. Dr. Manson said there would be some confusion and short-term memory loss, common side effects of electroconvulsive therapy.
Melancholy haunts her as thoughts flit from question to question, too many loose ends. Did I lock the car? Did Howard make the house payment? Did Jimmy get his dinner?

A fine layer of dust coats the smooth planking, absorbing the lumber’s lustrous sheen. Dust motes gleam like tiny stars in the glowing blanket of moonlight that hugs the floor. Fragments whirl in Carla’s thoughts, fluttering like wounded birds. A to-do list half done, the white sheen of a prom dress, a plastic wristband from the hospital—shards of a shattered past, nothing left but scraps.

It’s so still she can almost hear the thrum of the cosmos, its pulse trembling at the edge of perception. The quiet house seems on the verge of telling her something, some deep revelation, a most intimate secret.

Something’s not quite right, but she dare not think about it. She’s certain that somehow it will miraculously all come to her and she’ll be okay.

Moonlight sifts through dust-streaked glass, exposing a void, an emptiness, as Carla absently reflects on her condition. But she’s been done with all her treatment for months now. Dr. Manson promised her it would be okay.

Cold light cuts through dead air with scalpel-like precision, illuminating tiny imperfections floating aimlessly in space. Yes, it will all be okay. Like gasping awake from a nightmare or coming to from a deep coma or a near-death experience—a grand mal seizure, like after an ECT treatment. Yet it has to be okay. How else could she still be seeing, hearing . . . thinking? It’s all just a bad dream, Carla’s sure she’ll wake up soon. Still, something’s not right. If only Dr. Manson had explained it to her, maybe then she’d understand. And she really needs to understand.

Wake-Up Call

 

Sixty miles northwest of Phoenix, just outside Wickenburg, it’s an unusually bright night for early November, the blood moon waxing full above a rugged mesa. A stiff breeze whips up into a gusty blow, kicking up dust and rolling tumbleweeds across the open desert to pile against long stretches of rusted barbwire fencing. As a lone coyote’s howl dies off, the cold wind moans, a bone-chilling song, echoing through the dry creosote and down the rocky ravines.

Gritty gusts vibrate the metal sheeting of an aging doublewide. Anchored against the elements, the weather-beaten trailer clings to a five-acre plot of raw desert. A ten-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee is haphazardly parked nearby. The darkened trailer and old Jeep lie at the end of a narrow dirt track, the only evidence of civilization for miles.

And that’s fine with me. Just the way I like it. I’m snoring away in my new La-Z-Boy recliner, a half-empty longneck Bud sweating on the side table. A new fifty-two-inch flatscreen flashes digital images—my new surround-sound system, whispering the satellite TV’s endless monologue.

Dreaming, I catch my breath as a new reality unfolds:

A bright summer day, clear and hot. A large jet-black wasp appears overhead before I hear the hum of its Halloween-orange wings. A tarantula hawk headed straight for me. Flashes of raw panic. She’s enormous, big enough to carry me away. She lands in front of me, extending her hooked claws, wings flicking in anticipation. I rear back on hairy hind legs, baring my fangs and poking segmented forelegs at her in a valiant attempt to ward her off. She lunges, grappling with wicked claws, pulling me off balance and turning me over in one lightning-quick move. I flail wildly, arching my back, legs in the air, abdomen exposed and vulnerable. Holding fast, she thrusts her long black stinger deep into my belly, releasing her paralyzing venom. The shock-inducing sting slowly numbs me to the core as I silently scream from within its high-voltage spell. Her vile excretion robs me of all muscular control, leaving me to crackle in a hellish limbo. I can’t quite feel her dragging me away, but I fear the worst is yet to come.

A ringing in my head distracts me, growing louder, more insistent as the nightmare fades.

My cell phone’s obnoxious chirp drags me to semiconsciousness. I flail in my recliner, disoriented, trying to get my bearings. Grabbing my cell, I squint at the caller ID but can’t focus, my head spinning, drowning in dizziness.

The loud chirping stops and suddenly, it’s quiet. All that’s left is the ringing in my ears. As the ringing dies down, the dizziness fades. I decompress as the wind’s inhuman wail seeps through cracks in old weather stripping, competing with the TV’s mindless drone.

Thinking it through, it turns out the nightmare was more than just another bad dream. I know, having had more than my share. And “the worst is yet to come,” rings prophetic.

 

Q&A with Author

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Yes, I draw on both. The Lance Underphal mysteries are loosely based on real life experiences over a backdrop of current events extrapolated into a fictional reality.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I start with an incident as an idea and throw together the basic plot and characters in the form of cryptic notes. I liken my process to my days as a jazz drummer—improvisation on a theme.

Your routine when writing?

I have to schedule my writing time. Otherwise, I’d never get to write.

Any idiosyncrasies?

Not so much, but I DO love to set the mood with music. The right piece of music is always a source of inspiration.

Is writing your full time job?

Yes. But so is book marketing and book publishing. Guess I’m the head cook and bottle washer of this outfit.

If not, may I ask what you do by day?

Additionally, I own and operate a commercial real estate company.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have a ton of favorites. Poe, HP Lovecraft, Asimov, Frank Herbert, Huxley, Heinlein are a few of the classic masters I love. When it comes to contemporary mystery, James Lee Burke and Michael Connelly are two of my faves.

What are you reading now?

Most of my reading these days is research for writing. However, here’s a few I’m reading now, mostly for fun: Creole Belle, by James Lee Burke; The Automatic Detective, by A. Lee Martinez; The Deep Blue Good-By, by John D. MacDonald; and Poe, by J. Lincoln Fenn.

Are you working on your next novel?

Two, actually. The 3rd in the series, Grey Daze, is with my editor now, and I’m nearly twenty thousand words into Operation: Cut-Throat, which will be the 4th Lance Underphal Mystery.

Can you tell us a little about it?

There are now three Grey Daze excerpts posted in my blog – http://michaelallanscott.com/blog/.

Operation: Cut-Throat adds elements of black-hat hacking, terrorism and international intrigue to the core elements of my paranormal murder mysteries. I can’t wait to see the ending, ha!

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

In addition to Jack Nicholson or John Travolta as Lance Underphal, I’d cast Dwayne Johnson as Jake Jacobs.

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

Keyboard, only. At sixty-four years of age, I don’t have enough time left to hand write anything.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Leisure? What the hell is that? I spend my time creating . . .words and pictures—my joys.

Favorite meal?

Let me eat cake! CHOCOLATE cake! Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk – Book Trailer:

 

Author Bio:

Born and raised at the edge of the high desert in Kingman, Arizona, Michael Allan Scott resides in Scottsdale with his wife, Cynthia and their hundred-pound Doberman, Otto. In addition to writing mysteries and speculative fiction, his interests include music, photography, art, scuba diving and auto racing.

 

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It’s Time for a Book Blast | Chimeras & Mosaics

Track Presius Series, Books 1 & 2

by E.E. Giorgi

Book Blast

 

Chimeras

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: April 5 2014
Number of Pages: 406
ISBN: 978-0996045100

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Haunted by the girl he couldn’t save in his youth, and the murder he committed to avenge her, Detective Track Presius has a unique gift: the vision and sense of smell of a predator. When a series of apparently unrelated murders reel him into the depths of genetic research, Track feels more than a call to duty. Children are dying — children who, like himself, could have been healthy, and yet something, at some point, went terribly wrong. For Track, saving the innocent becomes a quest for redemption. The only way he can come to terms with his dark past is to understand his true nature.

 

Kudos:

Chimeras is now a Reader’s Favorite 2014 Book Award Finalist!! Check it out here: Reader’s Favorite.

 

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

It was one of those hot summer afternoons, with air made of cobwebs and a glare as sharp as pencils.

“Something’s wrong today,” I said.

“It’s L.A.,” my partner replied. “Something’s always wrong in L.A.”

A few hours later Johnny Carmelo was dead, his brains skewered by the whistling path of one of my bullets. He collapsed on the pavement, a red trickle of blood weeping down his face. They told me they weren’t going to clear me back to duty until the investigation was over. I left the next day. I drove up to the Sierras, camped in my truck, and hunted at night.

There are days I long to disappear in the wild, go back to the predator life I was meant to have. Kill the prey or be killed: it’s in my genes.

A chimera, that’s what I am. And this is my story.

 


 

 

Mosaics

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Quemazon Publishing
Publication Date: 9/2014
Number of Pages: ~410
ISBN: 978-0-9960451-1-7

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Synopsis:

Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the “awakened” genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?

 

Read an excerpt:

MOSAICS – excerpt

A dark hallway with no windows opened to the right of the foyer. The smells changed—the staleness of a vacant place and the victim’s scent—feminine, ambitious, seductive. The wall displayed wrought iron sconces and a collection of photos of Amy—Amy in her graduation gown, Amy with friends, Amy with her cat. A pretty face, I noticed, whose beauty didn’t distract from an underlining drive for determination.

Her bedroom was orderly. There was a half-empty birth control kit in her nightstand drawer, but no boyfriend in her life, according to the friends and relatives interviewed, only an ex-husband who now lived in Oregon. Toiletries on her vanity table, regular clothes in her closet, a few garments in her drawers that told me she was no nun, but no distinctive masculine scent anywhere. If she shared her bed with somebody, she’d done a good job at hiding it. The sheets smelled clean and freshly washed.

The next door let to her home office, a small carpeted room with a couple of white bookcases, a table with a desktop and printer, a metal chair, and, on the opposite side, a futon, a laundry basket, and an ironing table folded against the wall. Through the window, the hills of Montecito glowed against the evening sky, a wavy fabric of glimmering lights.

I inhaled. The bookshelves were crammed with medical books, the desk buried under stacks of papers.

The sweet, foul smell of the tiles…

I sat at the desk, opened the drawers, sniffed the keyboard, then the computer screen.

Not here. Close, though.

The papers. He went through the pile of papers.

I rummaged through the folders not knowing what to look for, just tailgating a smell. Gloved fingers had brushed through printouts and graphs, tables, essays, research proposals…

Did he find what he was looking for? And if so, what?

Article after article of scientific jargon, each title some random permutation of the words immunodeficiency, vaccine, study design, therapy, antiretroviral.

“What are you gonna see in the dark?” By the office door, Satish flipped the light switch.

“Smells.”

“On paper?”

“Yeah. And patterns, too,” I said. I sniffed the top right corner. I could follow the gloved fingers searching through the pile of papers, most likely a left thumb holding up the top ones so he could read the titles, and a right index flipping through. Until the trace stopped.

He found what he was looking for. Probably took it with him.

I inhaled and gave one last look around. Everything else seemed untouched.

“What did Gomez have to say?”

Satish shook his head sideways. “Autopsy’s scheduled for Thursday morning. Just got an invitation. Wanna join the party?” He smiled. Waited.

Amy Liu smiled too, from a silver frame on her desk, a man’s hand draping her shoulder, and a strand of black hair blowing over her face.

“Fine,” I said, walking past him out of the room. “I’ll keep you company on Thursday, but—”
He switched the lights off and followed me back to the foyer. “Uh-uh, Track. First things first. Tomorrow you pee in a cup and get your LAPD badge back.”

“I pee in a what?”

We locked the house, replaced the yellow crime scene tape. The air was tainted with a hint of humidity and the scent of jacaranda blooms. A handful of pale stars dotted the sky, the glow of downtown beneath them like a disoriented dawn. A broken streetlight strobed from farther down the street. The Latino music persisted. Yo sufrí mucho por ti, mi corazon…
Satish unlocked the car and slid behind the wheel. “Union mandated drug test. Your leave of absence from the department was longer than ninety days. Welcome back to regulations, Detective Presius.”

I made a face.

“Look at it this way. Whoever handles those cups has it way worse than you.” He started the engine and backed out of the driveway. “Shit happens, Track. Never forget that.”

“Hard to forget on days like this.”

I rolled down the window and let cool air blow in my face. The freeway droned in the distance, as another night descended upon L.A. Another murder, another killer on the loose.

It was June 2009, the beginning of summer.

Killing season had just started.

 


 

What Readers Think:

 


 

Author Bio:

E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer, and a photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she’s somebody else. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her detective thriller CHIMERAS, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist, is now available on Amazon.

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Alan Brenham Guest Author interview & giveaway

WELCOME Alan Brenham

Alan Brenham

Alan Behr served as a law enforcement officer and criminal investigator for seventeen years before earning a law degree from Baylor University. After obtaining his law license, he worked as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney for twenty-two years. His personal and official travels took him to several European and Middle Eastern countries, Alaska and almost every island in the Caribbean. He has lived in Berlin, Germany while working with US military forces. After retiring from government service, he has authored two crime novels – Price of Justice and Cornered – under the pen name of Alan Brenham. He is presently working on two more novels. Alan and his wife, Lillian, currently live in the Austin, Texas area.

Connect with Alan Brenham:

WEBSITE TWITTER

Q&A with Alan Brenham

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

I actually draw from both. Plot ideas are derived from current events and cases worked as a police officer. Use of current events such as human trafficking in my novel Cornered, or crimes against children and parental revenge as in my other novel Price of Justice, makes the plot more believable to readers. Hopefully, this raises questions for the reader to ponder, such as, what would I do if that happened to me or a member of my family.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

When I first began writing fiction, my starting point was always the beginning. In life, everything starts at the beginning. How it all ends will be a surprise. Why should a fictional story be any different? But for me, the result ended up being a quagmire or nightmare of disconnected scenes and character story lines. In short, it lacked a smooth flow.
But time and experience plus a lot of reading of other author’s novels, made me realize my style needed a drastic change. Now, it’s conclusion first but I don’t then do the plot in reverse. Once I’m satisfied with where and how the story will finish, I’ll frame the beginning – usually right in the middle of some major event. With a likeable beginning and ending in place – a framework, the story with its subtle clues and foreshadowing is easier to write.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I work from a home office. Armed with cups of coffee, I’ll start the day by re-reading the last scene written the day before so as to refresh my recollection. Then the typing begins. While I type, I love to listen to German polka music or instrumentals of my favorite tunes from days gone by. It also masks distracting sounds from the lawn care crew.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?

It is. Having retired from government service, I spend my time either writing the next novel or reading/studying how other authors did it. Occasionally I have to pause and submit/answer emails or phone calls from other attorneys or police associates about various topics – some related to my writing and some not.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

This is a difficult question. A year or so ago, I’d have said it was Michael Connelly, John Sandford, and J.A. Jance. Now, having expanded my reading list to include many more authors, I’d list three – Michael McGarrity with his vivid descriptions of settings in New Mexico for his protagonist, Kevin Kearney; James Hayman with his “can’t put it down” stories about his co-protagonists McCabe and Savage; and Meg Gardiner, not only because she’s from Austin but for her full 3-dimensional descriptions of her novels’ characters.

What are you reading now?

I deviated from my favorites to read the next two books in my Nook’s queue – Class Dismissed by Mark Petry, and The Psalmist by James Lilliefors. I selected them because Mark’s a fellow author with the same publisher as me – it’s a way of supporting him plus he writes an interesting novel. Lilliefors is an author I know little about. I read the blurb about this book while searching for a crime novel to read/study.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

Right now, I’m in the middle of finishing the third revision of Rampage, the sequel to Price of Justice. It follows Detective Scarsdale and his new partner, Tatum Harper, as they try to identify and catch a killer. The book uses themes of temptation, trust, and redemption.

In the wings, with an outline and the first two chapters written, is a stand-alone mystery-thriller about an assistant district attorney who finds the dark side just as enticing as the law.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Believe it or not, when I start a new novel, I cast the characters so I can visualize them while I’m writing about them. That said, for my novel Cornered, Christian Bale would be my choice for the role of Detective Matt Brady; Sarah Jones is the perfect actress for the role of Dr. Tracy Rogers; Cassidy Freeman possesses the same snarky smile as Brady’s ex-girlfriend, Cassandra. The bad guys, Weaver and Chiles, would be played by Michael Rooker and Michael Mando, respectively.

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

My manuscript is always, always done by keyboard. If I (a hunt and peck typist) had to write it by hand or on a conventional typewriter, it’d take me forever to get it done. But my notes and those 3AM epiphanies are all scribblings put on notepads my wife leaves in strategic spots around the house.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

My favorite activity is dating my wife. She’s a beautiful woman whose patience with me obviously knows no limits. My next favorite activity is watching pro and college football games. Aside from football, I have several favorite TV shows – The Originals, The Last Ship, Under the Dome, Motive, Murder in the First, and Bitten.

Favorite meal?

My wife says I’m an easy mark for a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Like a dog doing tricks for a dog biscuit.

ABOUT Cornered

He’s haunted by the memory of a kidnapping case gone wrong…

Not wanting history to repeat itself, Detective Matt Brady struggles to solve the disappearances of seven young women, but he quickly finds himself pitted against a criminal organization that knows as much about police procedure as he does—an organization that will do whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of him. His troubles are compounded when a young veterinarian injects herself into the investigation and is targeted to become victim number eight. When he tries to protect her, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a professional cop killer. Can Brady solve the case in time to save his new love, or will this investigation be the death of both of them?

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 320
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: July 19, 2014
ISBN-13: 9781626941380/9781626941373

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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
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